A Review of The Limits to Growth

Topics: World population, Population, Population growth Pages: 4 (1389 words) Published: February 14, 2015
A Review of The Limits to Growth

The Limits to Growth: a Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind was published in 1972 predicting the future of exponential growth of economy and population in a finite world. Since 1972, more than 10 million copies in 37 languages have been sold by now (Gambino, 2011). This ambitious book is written by MIT researchers for Club of Rome which is an international think tank. The authors created a global computer model, Wolrd3, to simulate the future of the world. And the conclusion is the unlimited growth will lead to collapse of civilization if we do not seek the equilibrium state.

Limits maybe arrived at the most opportune time. Environmental awareness was ignited by Cuyahoga River in 1950s, and promoted by books like Silent Spring in 1962 (Parenti, 2012). The publication of Limits was at the peak of building environmental consciousness, as the result, many people nodded in agreement to its viewpoint. Every UN ambassador, senator, representative and governor received a copy and a formal presentation was organized which many powerful people in Washington would attend. The columnist of New York Times declared the book was one of the most important documents in that age (Atlisson, 2010).

As the most ground-breaking and controversial academic work in 1970s the book triggered an international debate. Many people thought the book was a kind of doom say which was far too pessimistic and someone even radically criticized it as conspiracy theory or Malthusian cabal. Yale economist Henry C. Wallich agreed that the growth could not last forever, but he thought intervening growth would lead to permanent poverty of billions (Strauss, 2011). Wallich thought all the problems mentioned in the book would be solved by technological advance, in the contrary, Limits clearly opposes technological optimism (Atlisson, 2010). Some influential journal such as Foreign Affairs published a review named “The Computer...

References: Atkisson, A. (2010) Believing Cassandra: How to be an Optimist in a Pessimist 's World, Earthscan, London.
Gambino, M. (2011) Is it Too Late for Sustainable Development?, accessed 15/10/2014,http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/is-it-too-late-for-sustainable-development-125411410/
Kaysen, C. (1972) ‘The Computer that Printed Out W*O*L*F*’, Foreign Affair, vol.50, no.4,pp660-668.
Meadows, D. (1972) The Limits to Growth: a Report for the Club of Rome 's Project on the Predicament of Mankind, Earth Island, London.
Parenti, C. (2012) 'The Limits to Growth ': A Book That Launched a Movement, accessed 15/10/2014,
http://www.thenation.com/article/171610/limits-growth-book-launched-movement#
Strauss, M. (2011) Looking Back on the Limits of Growth, accessed 15/10/2014, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/looking-back-on-the-limits-of-growth-125269840/
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